Elisabeth Schwarzkopf – Recitals Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
1. Ave Maria [4.50]; 2. Die Forelle [2.22]; 3. Auf dem Wasser zu
singen [3.29]; 4. Ungeduld [2.58]; 5. Der Musensohn [2.18]; 6.
Was bedeutet die Bewegung [5.19] Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
7. Feldeinsamkeit [3.45]; 8. Therese [1.57]; 9. Der Tod das
ist die kuhle Nacht [3.13]; 10. Wiegenlied [1.53]; 11. Von
ewiger Liebe [4.45]; 12. Wie Melodien zieht es mir [2.40];
13. In stiller Nacht [3.11]; 14. Da unten in Tale [2.12];
15. Meine Liebe is grun [1.43]; 16. Liebestreu [2.23]; 17.
Vergebliches Standchen [1.52] Jean Philippe RAMEAU (1683-1764)
18. Dein Gesang, Nachtigall [6.29] Richard LEVERIDGE (1670-1758)
19. Sprach der alte Schafer [2.20] Michael ARNE (1740-1786)
20. Die Maid mit dem lieblichen Sinn [2.40] Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1698-1775)
21. Weisse Schafchen [2.50] Cristoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787)
22. Einem Bach der fliesst [2.22] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
23. Wohl tauscht ihr Vogelein [1.47]; 24. Die Verschweigung
[3.01] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
25. Das Geheimnis [1.52] Franz SCHUBERT
26. An den Fruhling [2.08] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
27. Volksliedchen [1.14]
piano: Giorgio Favoretto (1-6), Edwin Fischer (7-17) Michael Raucheisen
rec. Rome, 16 February 1952 (1-6), Rome, 21 February 1954
Berlin, 7 October 1944
ADD mono ARCHIPEL DESERT
ISLAND COLLECTION ARPCD0295 [77.45]
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings Lieder Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART(1756-1791)
1. An Chloe [2.16] 2. Die Alte [4.27] 3. Sehnsucht nach dem Fruhlinge
[1.58] 4. Abendempfindung [5.15] 5. Die Zauberer [2.02] Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
6. Wonne der Wehmut [2.43] Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
7. Der Musensohn [2.00] 8. Seligkeit [2.21] 9. Die
Forelle [2.08] 10. Litanei [5.25] 11. Ungeduld [2.50]
12. Gretchen am Spinnrade [3.22] Robert SCHUMANN (1810-1856)
13. Der Nussbaum [3.04] 14. Auftrage [2.17] Trad arr Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
15. Da unten im Tale [2.19] 16. Och Mod’t ich well en
Ding han! [1.41] 17. Vergebliches Standchen [1.38] Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
18. Her gesagt bleibt’s nicht dabei [1.56] 19. Schlechtes
Wetter [2.11] Hugo WOLF (1860-1903)
20. Wiegenlied (im Sommer) [3.12]; 21. Mausfallen-Spruchlein
[1.06] 22. Schlafendes Jesuskind [3.25] 23. Epiphanias
[4.29] 24. Was soll der Zorn mein Schatz [2.01] 25.
Herr was tragt der Boden hier [2.54] 26. Wie glanzt der
helle Mond [3.43] 27. Lebewohl [2.19] Elisabeth
Gieseking (1-3, rec 1954) Gerald Moore (4-6, 10, 11, 13-21,
rec 1954) Edwin Fischer (7, 12, rec 1953) Karl Hudez (8,
1946) Wilhelm Furtwangler (22-27, rec 1953) REGIS RRC1268 [75.15]
last time I saw Elisabeth Schwarzkopf was on a BBC telecast
of a musical workshop she hosted in Scotland. Her looks and
demeanour bore no resemblance to the glamorous opera singer
portrayed in sleeve-covers and advertising posters. She must
have been touching seventy at the time, wore a floral summer
frock, was obviously overweight - and she was busy! Interruptions
galore, an admonishing finger there, lots of demonstrations
on how this should be done and that should be undone, hands
on hips, signs of impatience, grim determination etched on
a face devoid of make-up …. and a frizzy hair-style. She
acted and looked like a bossy hausfrau doing her chores.
Surely this wasn’t the same person who sat so demurely next
to husband Walter Legge when interviewed on the beeb perhaps
a decade or two before? The same person who also wrote an
autobiography of her life with her husband in On and Off
the Record and didn’t have a harsh word to say about
transformation requires further investigation surely. Perhaps.
I leave the logic behind the actions of individuals to more
investigative and far-better resourced experts than myself.
But it does make you wonder. Was Dame Elisabeth Schwarzkopf
a far more complex person than her public persona indicated?
A chameleon of sorts?
there are traces of chameleonesque behaviour in her singing
within the portals of these two albums. We are talking here
about the decade between 1944 and 1954 and, it may be coincidence,
but the development of Schwarzkopf as a singer of some acclaim
may be linked with the appearance of Walter Legge on the
scene. Prior to March 1946 when Legge put Schwarzkopf through
the audition that Karajan famously complained as being the
act of a sadist - Legge auditioned his future wife for 90
minutes concentrating on the music of Hugo Wolf - Schwarzkopf
had sung mainly soubrette and coloratura roles. By the time
they married in 1953 Schwarzkopf had sung in most of the
principal opera houses in Europe.
listening to the recording she made in the autumn of 1944
in Berlin with Michael Raucheisen (her teacher’s husband
incidentally) no one could have predicted that Schwarzkopf
was a singer on the rise. She was then approaching 29 but
her voice is uncertain, faltering and not sufficiently under
control. To start off, her selection of baroque music, sung
in German, is odd. Her voice was not suited to the delicacy
of Rameau, Gluck and Sammartini and her other choices were
no better. Light and shade are missing, the notes are not
secure enough and the passagio between her low and high notes
not yet smooth.
is a distinct improvement in her 1952 Rome recital with Giorgio
Favoretto although the accompaniment, especially in Schubert’s Ungeduld, leaves
something to be desired.
Fischer in the 1954 recital in the same city is much more
sympathetic and Schwarzkopf’s soft legato in Brahms’s Feldeinsamkeit admirable. Von
ewiger Liebe and Meine Liebe ist grun are a touch
too operatic but then that is the style for both pieces.
was not too impressed with the patois and exaggerated pronunciation
in Mozart’s Die Alte (with Walter Gieseking), Schumann’s Der
Nussbaum and the Brahms arrangement of Och Mod’t,
ich well en Ding han! (both with Gerald Moore) while
Schwarzkopf’s treatment of Schubert’s Die Forelle (with
Karl Hudez) appears too bouncy. But her Ungeduld with
Gerald Moore has the correct balance of forcefulness and
has never lacked enthusiasm and energy. This is clearly obvious
in the recital at the Salzburg Mozarteum with Wilhelm Furtwängler
at the piano. The occasion was the 50th anniversary
of Hugo Wolf’s death. Furtwängler had actually recommended
himself as accompanist for the occasion and although the
cover notes suggest that he almost destroyed the balance
between the piano and singer by playing with the lid opened,
that is not evident on the recording.
is noticeable is the exposed vibrato in Schwarzkopf’s voice
in most of Wolf’s songs (especially Epiphanias), Furtwängler’s
control of piano and mezzo-forte (particularly in Herr
was tragt Boden hier) and Schwarzkopf’s serene legato.
in all, two albums that open a window into the early development
of one of the truly great singers of the 20th Century.
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John Quinn Seen & Heard Editor Emeritus Bill Kenny Editor in Chief
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